The Secondary Market For Tickets Is An Unclear World

SeatGeek is a website that allows users to compare ticket prices in many secondary markets.

Nowadays, many of us get our tickets through secondary markets. Whether it’s StubHub, eBay, Vivid Seats, or any one of many others, we go to these sites in order to find tickets to a sold out game or perhaps a good deal if teams are selling tickets at a price we’re not willing to pay. Secondary markets are now very familiar to use, and we’re comfortable with using them.

I was interested to see how secondary markets were selling tickets for the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, so I started doing research on prices of tickets for each arena. To do this, I used SeatGeek. What is SeatGeek? To describe the website in its own words:

“SeatGeek is a search engine that helps you find the best deals on tickets for concerts, theatre, and sporting events. We look high and low through (sic) all through dozens of ticket sellers, such as Stubhub, ebay, TicketsNow, and many more.”

Basically, you go to SeatGeek and search for a game or event just as you would in StubHub or any other service. Then, SeatGeek returns information about tickets for that game or event that are being sold on many different sites. You get to shop all of these sites from one website, which is very convenient. SeatGeek also tells you whether a certain ticket is a good deal or not.

So, I went to SeatGeek and looked at tickets for the next game in each arena. For series that started last night like Los Angeles Kings v. Vancouver Canucks, I looked at tickets at Rogers Arena for Game 2. For series that haven’t started yet, I looked at Game 1s. Finally, for teams that have started the playoffs on the road, I looked for tickets to Game 3 of the series. In comparing the prices across arenas, we obviously need a constant, so I picked an area that the regular fan may be interested in – the third level of the arena in the dead center of the ice. Below are all of the results. You’ll see each team organized by conference, their home arena, the price of the seat in the third level, and the price of the cheapest seat on the secondary market.





Price In Third Level

Cheapest Ticket Available

Vancouver Canucks

Rogers Arena



St. Louis Blues

Scottrade Center



Phoenix Coyotes Arena



Nashville Predators

Bridgestone Arena



Detroit Red Wings

Joe Louis Arena



Chicago Blackhawks

United Center



San Jose Sharks

HP Pavilion



Los Angeles Kings

Staples Center







Price In Third Level

Cheapest Ticket Available

New York Rangers

Madison Square Garden



Boston Bruins

TD Garden



Florida Panthers

Bank Atlantic Center



Pittsburgh Penguins

Consol Energy Center



Philadelphia Flyers

Wells Fargo Center



New Jersey Devils

Prudential Center



Washington Capitals

Verizon Center



Ottawa Senators

Scotiabank Place



What do we see? We see that the Florida Panthers fans can get some of the most affordable tickets if they search on secondary markets. If we’re just looking at the cheapest ticket available on the secondary market, the Panthers definitely have the cheapest one at $38.00. The most expensive “cheapest ticket” belongs to the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver is obviously a hockey crazed city, as evidenced by last year’s riots and of course the fact that hockey is Canada’s sport. Thus, the high prices in Vancouver should not be surprising. As well, if we look at those seats in the third level, the Panthers are in the middle of all prices across the NHL. The most expensive seat in the third level can be found at Madison Square Garden to watch the New York Rangers, but the Canucks are not too far back. The least expensive seat in the third level belongs to the Nashville Predators at $56.00, which is surprising considering their increasing attendance and revenues. The prices say something important about the demand for the ticket.

The necessity for using the secondary market, at least in the case of the Panthers, is an interesting question. For the Panthers, the prices for tickets on the secondary market match the prices for those tickets if purchased from the team’s website. This probably has to do with a lower demand for tickets in South Florida, as tickets are still on sale from the team. Sellers on secondary markets can’t sell their tickets for a great amount over the team’s price when the buyer can still buy tickets from the team. On the other hand, look at the Canucks. You cannot buy the cheapest seats from the Canucks’ website because those seats are sold out. The only way to get seats to the game is to buy on a secondary market, and the typical $105.00 seat costs $170.00 on the secondary market. This is so because there is a higher demand than supply. This logic does not always hold though. The Rangers are sold out of their cheapest seats online, but still, the cheapest seats on the secondary market are cheaper than the team’s previously available seats. Thus, there seems to be an equilibrium where fans have paid what they are willing to pay and are now just passing the tickets on because they can’t or do not want to use them.

Thus, what we see is that there is no clear way to predict what the secondary market will offer. A prudent fan will start by seeing if a team still has tickets for sale on their own website. If so, compare the prices on the website for the same seats in the secondary market. If not, go straight to the secondary market and pay the price that supply and demand dictates.

Happy shopping and good luck in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!